Republican Texas Rep. Michael McCaul, who chairs the US House Foreign Affairs Committee, told Kaitlan Collins on CNN This Morning that the United States should give Ukrainians “everything they need to win this thing.”
“We can’t wait,” McCaul said while speaking from the Munich Security Conference in Germany. He reiterated Ukraine’s call for Western fighter jets and more advanced weaponry ahead of a Russian offensive.
“Time only errs on the side of Putin. It’s his goal to delay this for as long as possible, for many reasons,” McCaul argued, cautioning that “the sooner we can bring this to a closing the better, as we look at the will of the American people and the Congress.”
When asked if he thought the new Russian offensive had begun yet, McCaul responded, “I do think it’s going to start soon. I know that the new general that Putin put in place is there to launch a major offensive,” continuing that “Putin does look at dates. I think February 24th, the one-year anniversary may be a target date. We just heard from the Supreme Allied Commander in a private briefing I had with him, that it could be as late as the springtime, late springtime, for this offensive.”
McCaul said he asked in the aforementioned meeting about more air-to-surface aircraft for Ukraine and US Army Gen. Christopher Cavoli, NATO’s supreme allied commander, “agreed with that assessment, as well as longer range artillery to hit the Iranian drones in Crimea, which currently Ukraine does not have, but they desperately need.”
When asked if he believes he could get another round of funding for Ukraine passed in this Congress, McCaul replied, “I believe so. It would have to be bipartisan” he said, because “there are fringes on the far-left and -right who disagree with this conflict and assisting and helping Ukraine win this fight for democracy and freedom, but the majority of the majority still support this effort.”
Meanwhile, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell tried to assure the audience at the conference that top Republicans currently in Washington are committed to US global leadership despite a mixed message that may have come from former President Donald Trump, who he didn’t cite by name.
The Kentucky Republican went on to pledge GOP support for NATO, Ukraine, and boosting military spending and argued Republicans are making a stronger rhetorical case day to day about those issues that President Joe Biden is. He also chided European allies and said they must “mirror” the commitment the US is making said they have not been “uniformly generous towards Ukraine.” He urged them to prepare to counter the robust threats coming China and Russia and to quickly admit Finland and Sweden into NATO.
CNN’s Ted Barrett contributed reporting to this post.